My piece in Asset this month was about the benefits of online application, but assisted by advisers. However, some people without the patience to reach the final couple of paragraphs have already pigeon-holed me as 'anti-adviser'. If you want the full story, better read the whole thing. Or drop me a line :-)
However, adviser-assisted online is set to become a major feature of the marketplace going forward - reducing administration burdens and mistakes wherever it is used. We've already had some exposure to this at a number of levels, in underwriting systems, kiosks, direct to consumer, and online services through dealer groups. It's only going to grow. Nothing is more certain, if you are an adviser and you shy away from online because you think it's about grabbing the client relationship and making them direct, you will cut off an important path of development, and be stuck in a high cost / low touch model which will reduce returns to you every year from this point.